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FC 84 – African American Connecticut Explored with Katherine Harris

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Dr. Katherine J. Harris, one of the main contributors to the book African American Connecticut Explored.

Bio – Dr. Katherine Harris

Katherine J. Harris, Ph.D. is a lecturer at Central Connecticut State University. She serves on the State Historic Preservation Council and the site selection committee for the Connecticut Freedom Trail. She is the author of Pan-African Language Systems: Ebonics and African Oral Heritage, African and American Values: Liberia and West Africa, The American Values Projected Abroad Series, and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s African Diplomacy is due out soon.

African American Connecticut Explored on Fieldstone Common
The Book Team: (left to right) Elizabeth J. Normen, Katherine J. Harris, Wm. Frank Mitchell, Stacey K. Close, Olivia White. (Photo by John Groo.)

Book Summary

The numerous essays by many of the state’s leading historians in African American Connecticut Explored document an array of subjects beginning from the earliest years of the state’s colonization around 1630 and continuing well into the 20th century. The voice of Connecticut’s African Americans rings clear through topics such as the Black Governors of Connecticut, nationally prominent black abolitionists like the reverends Amos Beman and James Pennington, the African American community’s response to the Amistad trial, the letters of Joseph O. Cross of the 29th Regiment of Colored Volunteers in the Civil War, and the Civil Rights work of baseball great Jackie Robinson (a twenty-year resident of Stamford), to name a few. Insightful introductions to each section explore broader issues faced by the state’s African American residents as they struggled for full rights as citizens. This book represents the collaborative effort of Connecticut Explored and the Amistad Center for Art & Culture, with support from the State Historic Preservation Office and Connecticut’s Freedom Trail. It will be a valuable guide for anyone interested in this fascinating area of Connecticut’s history.

Contributors include Billie M. Anthony, Christopher Baker, Whitney Bayers, Barbara Beeching, Andra Chantim, Stacey K. Close, Jessica Colebrook, Christopher Collier, Hildegard Cummings, Barbara Donahue, Mary M. Donohue, Nancy Finlay, Jessica A. Gresko, Katherine J. Harris, Charles (Ben) Hawley, Peter Hinks, Graham Russell Gao Hodges, Eileen Hurst, Dawn Byron Hutchins, Carolyn B. Ivanoff, Joan Jacobs, Mark H. Jones, Joel Lang, Melonae’ McLean, Wm. Frank Mitchell, Hilary Moss, Cora Murray, Elizabeth J. Normen, Elisabeth Petry, Cynthia Reik, Ann Y. Smith, John Wood Sweet, Charles A. Teale Sr., Barbara M. Tucker, Tamara Verrett, Liz Warner, David O. White, and Yohuru Williams.

Publication InfoAfrican American Connecticut Explored on Fieldstone Common

Title: African American Connecticut Explored

Publisher: Wesleyan University Press (2013)

Hard cover; 422 pages with with end notes for many chapters, bibliography, an index and some photos.

African American Connecticut Explored is available for purchase from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

The Interview

Dr. Harris and I talked about the history of slavery in Connecticut, when it started and how it ended. We also talked about the unusual practice of the African American community, starting in the 1700s, to elect Black Governors. We talked about successful New Haven resident William Lanson. And Martin Luther King Jr. even made a cameo appearance in this discussion of Connecticut history.

Links mentioned during the interview:

Prize Winner

One copy of African American Connecticut Exploredwas given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of Wesleyan University Press.

The winner is:

  • Cheryll Toney Holley of Massachusetts

Congratulations to our winner and thanks to Wesleyan University Press for their generosity in donating the book!

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

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One Comment

  1. Oh wow! I won! Thank you Fieldstone Common and Marion – I can’t wait to read the book.

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